Isn’t That Spatial? Online Spatial Thinking Course for Educators

Blog Post created by jkerski-esristaff Employee on Sep 14, 2012
Know a colleague that is interested in using spatial thinking and geotechnologies in instruction? An upcoming 5 week course may be just the thing that could bring the "a-ha!" moment in terms of understanding how and why to do so. The course, entitled “Isn’t that Spatial? Analyzing Our World Using Digital Maps and Spatial Thinking (TSA101)” is offered through eNet Colorado, a provider and clearinghouse of professional development resources for educators.

The goal of Teaching Using Spatial Analysis 101 is to provide confidence, skills, and the spatial perspective necessary to foster spatial analysis in geography, earth and biological sciences, history, mathematics, computer science, and in other disciplines.isnt_that_spatial_course_enetcolorado_screenshot-300x242.jpg

It will accomplish this through a series of hands-on activities where participants investigate a series of fascinating issues relevant to the 21st Century, including population, natural hazards, energy, water, current events, sustainable agriculture, and more. These activities will be supplemented by short readings and reflections that will build a community of educators focused on the value of investigating the world through a spatial perspective. Students who are ultimately impacted by what the educators will learn through this course will benefit through key career and critical thinking skills in data management, inquiry, multimedia, and geospatial technologies. I am teaching this class and will be assisted by eNet Colorado staff. The class ($75) begins on 19 September 2012 and is 5 weeks long, running asynchronously, with an estimated time of 3 hours required per week. Graduate credit through Adams State University is available as well. See my video for more information about the course.

Each week includes the following tasks: 1. Read the introduction. 2. Read the background readings and respond in the forum. The background readings include items written by the National Research Council’s “Learning to Think Spatially” committee, Phil Gersmehl, myself, and others. Reading others’ reflections and responding is one way to build community, which is key to success in spatial analysis and GIS in education. 3. Complete the hands on activities using ArcGIS Online and other tools and respond to the questions I pose. 4. Complete a five-question quiz. In addition, during Week 5 there is an additional assignment: Complete a plan describing how you would implement these skills, activities, and/or geotechnologies in the classroom.

The themes for each week are: Introduction to spatial thinking, population dynamics, natural hazards, change, and analyzing field data.

Do you know some colleagues who might benefit from such a course? How would you structure such a course if you were teaching it?

- Joseph Kerski, Esri Education Manager